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Musical giants come together

On July 9, three of music’s most-loved artistes will be performing alongside each other during the annual Joseph Calleja concert at the Granaries in Malta.

This year, Malta’s home-grown tenor will be joined on stage by Italian pop icon Lucio Dalla and the New Zealand-born starlet, Hayley Westenra.

Throughout the years, Joseph Calleja has gained immense respect not only for his natural ability as a tenor but also for his continued efforts to widen the appeal of his Malta concerts to include audiences who would normally miss classical music events.

Other initiatives include the setting up of a children’s choir and establishing low entry-level prices for the concerts he gives in Malta.

Born in Malta in the late 1970s, Joseph Calleja began singing at the age of 16, training with Maltese tenor Paul Asciak. He made his professional debut in Malta in 1997 as Macduff in Macbeth and won an award in the Belvedere Hans Gabor competition later that year. He went on to win the 1998 Caruso Competition in Milan and was a prize-winner in Domingo’s Operalia the following year.

This year he took on three signature roles at The Metropolitan Opera: Rodolfo in La Bohème, Edgardo opposite Natalie Dessay in Lucia di Lammermoor, and the Duke of Mantua in Rigoletto, the role in which he made his house debut in 2006.

The tenor’s third solo album was also released this year in Germany on May 20 and was followed by another successful release in Italy on May 24. The album is set to be released across the rest of Europe within the next month.

Lucio Dalla on the other hand, is well known for his creative touch and vast knowledge of the music industry. The Italian pop icon started out at an early age on an accordion and gradually learning how to play the clarinet. By the time he was 14 he was already performing in various jazz formations, little did he know how his musical career would rapidly unfold over the next few decades.

The cantautore holds an impressive music résumé with numerous album releases under his sleeve, including two “best of” CDs realeased in the early 2000s, DVDs, international tours, directing and TV programmes. Lucio Dalla’s musical curiosity knows no bounds from classical music in 2003 when he composed Tosca: Amore disperato – an opera inspired by Giacomo Puccini’s Tosca. He also directed the opera by Ferruccio Busoni, Arlecchino, in 2006 and collaboratedwith Roberto Roversi at the beginning of his career.

He is equally famous for highly popular songs like Caruso and Attenti Al Lupo – both of which were top-selling releases.

New Zealand-born music sensation, Hayley Westenra is undoubtedly the youngest of the trio with a long list of achievements behind her name at just the age of 24. She has already achieved a career most people can only dream about – world famed soprano, classical cross over artist, songwriter and the youngest Unicef ambassador.

Over the past few years, the soprano has taken the world by storm with her first album release in 2003 at the tender age of 16. Titled Pure, her double platinum selling album, debuted internationally and was an instant hit rapidly becoming the fastest-selling album from a classical artiste, reaching the top-10 music charts in 11 countries.

This year, Hayley Westenra celebrates 10 years in the music industry with the release of her fifth studio album Paradiso, a collaboration with the legendary Italian composer Ennio Morricone. This album has already sold millions of copies since its release in New Zealand two months ago.

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